Oregon begins water restrictions as drought worsens

Aug. 4, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown urged state agencies help reduce the water budget by 15 percent over five years.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Cities in Oregon have begun imposing s a variety of rules governing water residents’ water use, according to oregonlive.com.

Lake Oswego residents can receive assistance coming up with plans to water plants with minimal irrigation, stated the article. Artificial turf is replacing grass in street medians in Ashland, and residents can receive cash incentives when they install the turf on their lawns.

Oakridge and Junction City have made watering lawns and gardens outside of set dates and times illegal, noted the article. Eleven cities across the state have established forms of water use reduction, ranging from asking residents to conserve to levying $300 fines.

“We’re really focused on making the long-term changes that will help us in the future,” said Julie Smitherman, Ashland’s water conservation specialist, in the article.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown urged state agencies help reduce the water budget by 15 percent over five years, reported the article. She "has declared drought emergencies in 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties," and that the state will need to adapt as conditions become "the new normal."

Warm temperatures and low levels in some rivers including the Clackamas are causing fish to die, shared the article. Portland is pumping groundwater to make up for the shortage in the Bull Run reservoir, its water supply.

Municipal use accounts for 6 percent of the state’s water usage, while agriculture and industry make up 91 percent, stated the article. Irrigators have been asked to conserve, and industrial and private well users may not be immune from restrictions.

While a statewide reduction similar to California’s in not currently in effect, Diana Enright of the Oregon Water Resources Department believes planning a future with less water needs to happen now, noted the article.

You can find the entire release here.

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